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From Jeff Jacobs at CT Now/Hartford Courant: Quinnipiac: Becoming A Giant: AD Jack McDonald’s Vision Is Turning Into Reality

“I’m the luckiest AD on the planet. Our programs, the medical school, the law school, Now, people use the words ‘up and coming.’ It is one of the hottest schools, athletically, academically, career-wise in the region. And today, today is a great step.”

St. Patrick’s Day would be a great Sunday for McDonald. After the “Irish Eyes are Miling” run in Cheshire, he would watch the fans storm Lender Court in celebration. Three hours later, the fans went crazy as the Bobcats pulled the goalie in the closing moments, tied the final game of ECAC quarterfinal series against Cornell at 2 and won it 3-2 with 5:52 left in double overtime on a goal by Kevin Bui.

Also out of Connecticut: Carl Adamec says, “Planting NCAA seeds takes some guesswork

You don’t need a degree from ESPNU to be a bracketologist.

Some knowledge is required, yes, but it’s the love of the game that qualifies you. So please join us. It’s time to stand up and be counted. Your guess is as good as anyone’s, including ESPN’s.

The 64 women’s basketball teams that will take part in the NCAA tournament will be announced Monday at 7 p.m. There are a lot of things we know and a lot of things we don’t. But trying to figure it out is where all the fun comes in.

Charlie discusses Things to look for Monday night – ESPN’s NCAA Selection Special is at 7 ET; coverage continues on ESPNU at 8 ET

Even as the final bracket projection was put together this weekend, some of the questions that popped up throughout the season still lingered. How the selection committee answers them will go a long way toward determining what the NCAA tournament bracket looks like when it’s unveiled on Selection Monday (ESPN, 7 p.m. ET, with continued coverage on ESPNU at 8 p.m. ET).

Here are the questions I’m most anxious to see answered Monday night.

The Rebkellian beknighted takes a shot at the Dancers using RPI

Full Court has a question (that might upset Bridgeport, CT folks): Will principles or profit guide NCAA bracketing?

it would be a surprise to nearly everyone involved in women’s basketball if the top four seeds are not Baylor, Notre Dame, Connecticut and Stanford in pretty much that order, as they have been the consensus top four for most, if not all, of the season.

That doesn’t mean, however, that there won’t be a very big question mark surrounding the bracketing of the four heavyweights. Because while most assume that UConn will be holding court in the Bridgeport, Conn., Regional, just as they have played at or near their home floor in the early and regional rounds for the past several years, it will take a major piece of legerdemain for the Selection Committee to get them there this year.

Also at Full Court, Paul White: Mid-Majors hold to script, for the most part

Players on NCAA Tournament bubble teams can breathe a bit easier after this week’s conclusion of the mid-major postseason tournaments.

Losses by St. Joseph’s (Atlantic 10), Green Bay (Horizon) and Delaware (Colonial Athletic) – as well as perhaps even Quinnipiac (Northeast) – in conference tournament finals would have provided NCAA Tournament bids to teams that would not have gotten in otherwise. All favorites prevailed, though, so bubble team supporters don’t have to chew on those fingernails quite so viciously in advance of Monday’s Selection Show.

Speaking of Mid-Majors, Lady Swish gives Hampton their due: Four–ward progress – Hampton does it again

David Six keeps insisting that when the 2012-13 Hampton Lady Pirates first assembled last fall, they weren’t very good.

Sure didn’t take ’em long to catch on. Or catch fire. Or leave the rest of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in their wake once again.

In a never-in-doubt MEAC title game, the Lady Pirates smoked Howard 59-38 Saturday at the Norfolk Scope to complete a perfect conference schedule – 16-0 regular season; 3-0 tournament – claim their fourth straight conference crown and book yet another ticket to the NCAA Tournament. 

“I’m not going to say where we should be seeded, but I don’t think we’re a 15 or 16 seed,” said Six, who along with many others felt Hampton was underseeded at 16 last season. “I haven’t seen all the other teams play, but we’ve got some quality wins. I certainly don’t think we’re a 15, 16. I think 13 is fair.

Matt Sussman at Hustle Belt says,“Watch out for Central Michigan”:

CMU always had potential. They had a litany of good nonconference wins, perhaps the best collection in all of the MAC. They just had one too many conference losses which forced them into the quarterfinals instead of the semis. Then they got to work; a 33-point victory over Bowling Green, a second win against Toledo and now this masterpiece over the Zips.

Richard Kent at Swish Appeal has Five teams to watch in the 2013 NCAA Tournament

As we ponder and wonder what’s going to happen tonight and consider the future of the tournament, a little flashback:

2007: The NCAA Selection Committee: Opening the Vault and Looking Inside

Every year the (now) “Tuesday Night Quarterbacking” that follows Division I’s “Selection Monday” becomes a passionate exercise in “what ifs” and “how comes.” Depending on a coach’s relationship to those fortunate 64 teams, discussions can be fraught with emotion or wrapped in an almost scientific detachment. Most years one can guarantee the focus of people’s dissatisfaction will either be on the teams selected or on the make up of the brackets.

But last year, in a sort of basketball “perfect storm,” the ire was aimed at both. What followed was a firestorm (and some mocking) in the press and barbed comments from coaches about who got in, who got left out, why so many tops seeds were put in one region, why a top seed should play on a lower seed’s de facto home court, and on and on.

“It got a lot of attention,” reflected Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson, in perhaps the understatement of the season.

2009: NCAA TOURNAMENT HOSTING: Hidden Hurdles and Helpful Hints

As college basketball moves into its season of review and reflection, doubtless there will be many discussions about the 2009  Division Itournament and the logistics of seeding, the needs of hosting, the restrictions of television and the current economic reality.

But as the women’s game seeks to strike the balance between a competitively balanced tournament and a well-attended one, we would be remiss to not examine the successes and challenges faced by the host institutions themselves. What lessons were learned and how might they be applied to games and tournaments across the Divisions?

Full Court’s John McGraw and Trevor Goodson are in Frankfort, Kentucky where Defense gets it done in NAIA Elite 8

Most of the time when teams fail to put points on the board in basketball, the outcome is considered ugly.  This was not the case as the top eight teams in the NAIA squared off for a chance to go the prestigious “Fab Four”, the NAIA version of the Final Four.  No team managed more than 63 points which happened when Cumberland (TN) barely edged Lubbock Christian (TX) 63-61.   Earlier in the day Westminster (UT) and Westmont (CA) combined for 75 (39-36) points in what was the lowest scoring game in NAIA tournament history.  These were great games though, games that any basketball junkie would have enjoyed because the defense on display was a close to perfect as possible. 

In other W news, Jayda talk with Sue Bird about her knee surgery

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Ethnicity report reveals impact of NCAA diversity efforts

The NCAA’s Race and Gender Demographics Report for 2009-10 shows significant increases in the number of administrative personnel in the last 15 years, primarily because of increases in NCAA membership but also because of expanding staffs at individual schools to reflect the growth in athletics participation overall (more than 430,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA sports now compared to about 330,000 in 1995).

Those increases appear to be good news for women and minorities. For example, there were 142 more athletics directors in 2009-10 than in 1995-96. But of that increase, women gained 58 positions and ethnic minority males 27. White males gained 57.

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From C&R:

March 18th- Are you Smarter than C and R? (Year 2)

Okay, we said that last year and most of you WERE smarter than C and R when it came to picking the top women’s basketball teams in the country. Well, smarter than C, she bombed the bracket, but R did well.

Let’s just find out how much you know about women’s basketball and the their NCAA tournament. Women Talk Sports is sponsoring a group bracket on ESPN’s website.

Last year Women Talk Sports offered prizes, so not sure if they will this year. But ESPN is offering $2,000 and $1,000 gift cards. Test yourself against C and R (and other Women Talk Sports members).

Join and complete the bracket by SATURDAY, MARCH 19TH. Tell your family and friends to join!

I am listed as “Stanford.C” and R is “Stanford.R” Unoriginal I know, but this way you will know who is crushing you!

Sign up Today!

Important Women’s Basketball Links

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From Mark Anskis at the NCAA: Sportsmanship reigns in Swarthmore-Bryn Mawr game

The special and sportsmanlike moment came in Swarthmore’s designated “Pink Zone” game to support breast-cancer awareness. Adding to the aura were school Presidents Rebecca Chopp of Swarthmore and Jane McAuliff of Bryn Mawr, who served as honorary coaches of their respective teams to show collective support for the breast-cancer cause.

Bodur, who entered the game with 999 career points after suffering a career-ending knee injury in a Jan. 29 victory over Gettysburg, scored an uncontested layup after the tip-off to become just the eighth player in program history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.

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From the NCAA: Gender-equity forum registration available online

After a year of high activity by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, which has issued two new Title IX letters of guidance, as well as important court decisions in athletics cases, the NCAA’s Office of Inclusion is inviting NCAA staff and faculty to attend the annual Gender Equity Forum. Registration for the NCAA Gender Equity Forum May 1-3 in Bethesda, Maryland, is available online.

The fee for NCAA institutional and conference staff members and NCAA affiliate organizations is $300, which includes all sessions, hotel accommodations for three nights and most meals. If an attendee doesn’t stay in the hotel where the conference is held, the fee is $125.

World-renown equity expert Donna Lopiano and organizational leaders and legal advisors are among the presenters who will address issues affecting women in intercollegiate sports. Attendees will be encouraged to actively participate in the sessions, which are designed to provide in-depth analysis of issues and practical solutions.

The agenda features instruction on all Title IX topics, including understanding the law and best practices for compliance. Sessions will include a variety of topics such as sexual harassment law and prevention, fundraising for women’s sports, equal pay policy, and student-athlete well-being and behavior. The NCAA’s emerging sports program and interest from the new sports of Acrobatics and Tumbling and Stunt will be a featured session. A roundtable luncheon with a variety of topics and networking reception also will occur on May 2.

For the first time the Forum will be preceded by a NACWAA Regional Executive Leadership Seminar, starting April 30th, offering NACWAA members professional development programming and networking opportunities.

The primary NCAA resource – the NCAA Gender Equity Manual – is available online and has recently been updated to include information about new case decisions and OCR enforcement activity.

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An important history lesson from the NCAA that captures some of the passion and heartbreak that was the NCAA’s 1981 takeover of women”s championships from the AIAW. (Though there’s not a lot of discussion of how the NCAA fought tooth and nail against Title IX)

Charlotte West, an AIAW supporter and administrator at Southern Illinois, said she was “uncomfortable” throughout the debate. Grant had perhaps one of the most emotional speeches of the Convention, pleading with the delegates for “simple fairness” and “adherence to the concept that those to be governed have a right to directly determine by whom they are governed.”

“This is an opportunity for you to send a message to the leadership of this organization, and to the hundreds of women who cannot speak for themselves, that you will not take the women against their will,” she said.

Grant and fellow AIAW loyalists reported hearing pockets of booing in the crowd while they spoke and finding ugly caricatures of themselves scribbled on slips of scratch paper. (Frank and others deny hearing boos, saying the conduct in their immediate area was professional.)

“We all like people to get along, and goodness knows we had very different points of view in the AIAW,” West said. “We’d get up and argue, and you might vote one way and I’d vote another, but we were still very close colleagues. It was an entirely different feeling on the NCAA Convention floor. It was us against them.”

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— just ask Delta State.

Clearly my good wishes caused the Lady Statesmen to lose to Harding U by three, and as a consequence, they tumbled from first to fourth in the NCAA DII Coaches’ Poll. Sorry about that, kids.

Lander University (SC) claims the top spot with their 17-0 record, followed by Arkansas Tech, Clayton State (Ga) and Fort Lewis (CO) tucked behind Delta in the fifth spot.

In NCAA DIII poll, Amherst’s loss to Kean (NJ) also dropped them from first to fourth. A familiar name, Hope College (MI), rules the roost, followed by Thomas More (KY) and Kean. Babson (MA) comes in at #5.

In NAIA Division I, that’s 41 straight weeks in the top spot for Union (TN). They’re followed by Oklahoma City, Campbellsville (KY), Freed-Hardeman (TN) and Lewis-Clark State (Idaho).

There was some movement in the NAIA Division II poll, but not at the top, which is where you’ll find Iowa’s Davenport. Then it’s Northwestern (IA),  Sioux Falls (SD), Morningside (IA), and Saint Francis (IN.) and Black Hills State (SD) tied at No. 5.

So, what are the top 5 in NJCAA, you ask?

Pensacola State College (19-0)
Trinity Valley Community College (17-0)
Vincennes University (12-2)
Jefferson College (14-1)
Independence Community College (16-0)

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Well that’s not encouraging

At the NCAA conference this past week in San Antonio some interesting new data was revealed. It appears that student-athletes don’t trust their coaches a whole lot. And apparently the coaches of women’s basketball are the worst–according to their players. Only 39 percent of respondents said they trusted their coaches. The same percentage said their coaches “defined success by not only winning, but winning fairly.” Just over a third said they wanted to spend less time with their coaches. This is compared to 21 percent of female student-athletes in other sports.

The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association is responding to the findings by establishing an ethics committee that will examine the compliance rules around coaches’ behaviors and players’ experiences.

FWIW, the Ethics Committee was a little over a year ago. We shall see what, if any, impact they can have since… well, they have no real disciplinary power. That’s all in the NCAA’s hands.

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From Inside Higher Ed, a little recruiting news: Verbal Commitments Challenged

A proposal to prohibit early verbal scholarship offers — a controversial practice that permeates football and men’s basketball — is among the major pieces of legislation on the docket for next week’s National Collegiate Athletic Association convention in San Antonio.

The NCAA convention takes place annually and gathers officials from institutions and conferences in all three of the association’s divisions. It is the culmination of the association’s yearly legislative cycle, and it is where some — though not all — of its rules for players and institutions are decided by its membership.

No surprise, Report shows DII athletics in line with institutional spending

In the first Division II revenues and expenses report compiled since 2004, athletics expenses at schools with football programs represented less than 6 percent of the institutional budget and 5 percent for schools without football.

The data also show that it costs less than half as much to operate a football program at the Division II level as it would in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision. The median expense for Division II schools with football is a little less than $4 million, while that figure is about $8.6 million for FCS programs. The operating cost is about $10.1 million for programs in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision.

And more “no surprise,” DIII report shows alignment between athletics and institutional spending

Data from the most recent Division III revenues and expenses report show that the division is doing a good job of funding athletics participation opportunities without overly taxing institutional budgets.

The first report on athletics spending in Division III since 2002 shows that for schools offering football, athletics spending as a proportion of total institutional spending has moved only slightly – from 3.5 percent in 2005 to just over 4 percent in 2009. And for the non-football schools, athletics spending stayed fairly flat, between 2 and 2.5 percent of total spending.

Those percentages are significant, given that student-athletes compose roughly 30 percent of total enrollment in most Division III schools.

I wonder if the Sports Economists will weigh in.

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We’ve read stories about how other coaches/programs have done it in the past. (Well, “past” if you consider the Sooner resurgence under Sherri “past.”)

For three years, the NCAA has awarded grants that have helped schools market and advertise.

Now, at Full Court Press, Mark Bradford writes: Who Says Women’s Hoops Can’t Draw a Crowd? The Irish Have Found the Right Formula

When Muffet McGraw first took over the Notre Dame Women’s basketball team in 1987, she could almost count the number of fans in the seats during a time out. At its best, the number could be counted during pregame warm-ups.

Today, however, it is a far different story.

Over the past month and change since the exhibition season commenced, I have attended 14 of the 17 basketball games—both men’s and women’s—played at Notre Dame’s Purcell Pavilion. As a general rule, for the men’s games, I drove unimpeded into the parking lot, parked in the nearest lot, and had an unobstructed walk into the arena. In contrast, for the women’s games, I had to endure a 15-minute (or longer!) traffic backup that extended for a good half a mile, parked in an outer lot (the closer ones long since full), and then had to wend my way through the crowds to get to my seat at the press table.

My, how things have changed.

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FGCU AD says not granting scholarship releases protects school’s best interests

But Kavanagh generally will not grant releases until academic years are completed, and only then if the athlete is academically eligible.

Graduation rates, APR (academic progress rate) and NCAA action — reductions of scholarships for poor academic performances — are at stake. Thus the AD feels both parties should honor the one-year commitment of signed national letters of intent.

He said in the past the decision whether to grant a release is to protect the school’s best interests, and it also prevents the student-athletes from making rash decisions.

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Wise choice!

What an Amazing Game!!! Congratulations, Terps!!!

The picture should give you a hint that today’s most exciting game for Terps fans, in the BCs’ opinion, was the one held outside at the Field Hockey Complex. That’s where a standing room only crowd (10 deep!) saw the Maryland Field Hockey team win the NCAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP in double OT, 3-2, over defending champ UNC . . . and lucky us, the BCs were on hand to witness this intense, exhausting, well-played, nailbiter of an event. As a bonus, it was played on a beautiful, sunny day, in a state-of-the-art facility on Maryland’s campus. What a wonderful place to win a Natty and what a fitting way to crown a champion!

***
Among the fans who packed the FH Complex were plenty of familiar faces; fans we’re used to seeing indoors, at basketball games. If the Natty game had been decided in regulation, we would’ve had time to watch it end, cheer the Terps’ trophy presentation, and still make it to Comcast for the tip-off of Maryland (basketball) versus American U. But we don’t regret the extra time. As basketball fans, we know how exciting, how memorable it is to see your team win a Championship in overtime. Now we can say that double overtime is also our time.

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to my post here.

Jere’ picks up the ball: After College Coach Rests Starters, Debate and Fines Follow

The Florida State incident underscored the widespread debate about the value of conference tournaments when numerous teams from the A.C.C. and other leagues are eligible for postseason play in sports like soccer, basketball, baseball and softball.

The debate is whether conference tournaments are necessary competitive events or primarily a means to provide additional financing and television showcases at a time when the vast majority of colleges are losing money on athletics. Only 14 of the nation’s 120 big-time athletic departments reported making a profit in the 2008-9 school year, according to the N.C.A.A.

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from Matt Kailey at Beacon Broadside: Kye Allums, Trans Athletes, and a Modest Proposal for Inclusive Sports

The subject of trans athletes is nothing new. Renee Richards broke ground in 1977 when the New York Supreme Court ruled that she had the right to play professional tennis as a woman after transitioning from male to female. But the controversy over who can play what sport remains ongoing.

There is really a fairly simple way to eliminate this controversy and to make room for transgender, transsexual, and intersex people in sports – eliminate the requirements based on genitalia (which is truly what separate-sex sports are based on) and establish standards for various categories or levels of play based instead on the physical requirements of the sport for each level.

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budget issues or the desire to face organized competition vs. the scattershot ensembles of preseason teams), but I’m loving the fact that Division I teams are playing top Division II and NAIA Division I teams. What a great opportunity for some of the best players (within their Division) to meet their counterpoints in NCAA Division I. And play in front of great crowds (and show their skills). And have their program earn a little money.

Case in point, UConn played Franklin Pierce College (Division II finalist).

Second case in point: Tennessee played Union (NAIA D-I champeens.) Nice bit of press on the game. An example: Union takes loss in exhibition at Tennessee

Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt has more than 1,000 wins entering her 36th season, but her Lady Volunteers weren’t the only team she was paying attention to Sunday during an 86-53 exhibition win against Union at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Summitt admitted that she “caught herself watching” the Lady Bulldogs’ teamwork.

“They are so well coached and so disciplined, and I give them an enormous amount of credit on how they played,” Summitt said. “I’m glad we had this game.

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From the NCAA: Division I women’s basketball tournament expansion an issue for discussion

“We need to do the right thing for the right reasons.”

– Sue Donohoe, NCAA vice president of Division I women’s basketball

While that statement could apply to a number of issues in women’s basketball, the 11-year chief executive of the Division I Women’s Basketball Championship is talking about the possibility of expanding the 29-year-old tournament bracket.

And while there may be any number of issues in the game that are at least as important, perhaps none evokes more opinions about what is “right for the right reasons” than tinkering with the tournament.

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The women’s game

NCAA Division I women’s basketball turns 29 this year, and while there’s nothing particularly special about the anniversary, the number of issues converging on the game make 2010-11 a potentially notable year for the sport that has grown exponentially in the level of play, its popularity and exposure, and the competition from more schools pouring resources into the game. With all of that comes the pressure to win while maintaining the very integrity on which the sport is grounded. What makes women’s basketball great? How does it grow? What are the threats?

With practice already underway and real games less than a month away, we’ll examine the players, the coaches, the tournament and the next steps in the evolution of The Women’s Game.

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are as stumped as I was about this article on the NCAA’s LLC news.

I’m not saying the Ref’s Forum is the be all and end all to measure the pulse of NCAA women’s basketball officials, but isn’t it odd that they seem so out of the loop?

Sorta like planning ESPNw without talking to fans of women’s sports.

Or moving the Liberty to Newark without chatting up the Lib fans.

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From Mechelle: Landscape of college sports is riveting

In the week when new NCAA president Mark Emmert at last “officially” started his job — he’s been busy preparing for months, aiming toward a leaner (and perhaps meaner) organization — it’s a good time to launch a new initiative here at ESPN.com.

We’ll be doing a twice-weekly look at the college sports world in a smorgasbord-style that focuses more on everything that goes on besides football and basketball. Which is not to say the two big-ticket collegiate sports won’t be mentioned in this space. The reality is that they’re all intertwined, and there are issues that affect all college athletes regardless of their sport.

But with the obvious acknowledgement that most eyes are on the gridiron right now, that’s very, very far from all that’s happening on campus. And whether you’re heavily plugged into the likes of volleyball, soccer and cross country … or just want to get a feel for what else is going on in the wide world of college sports — well, that’s what this page at ESPN.com is for.

Speaking of “new initiatives” at ESPN, did you catch what a far more aware reader pointed out about the coverage of the ESPNw’s “summit”?

From USAToday: ESPN aims for female audience with espnW

From SB Nation: Pack it In, Universe: ESPN Creating ‘Brand’ For Women

From SheWired: ESPN to Launch espnW – ESPN Channel for Women

TVWeek: ESPN’s New Web Brand Is a Departure for the Sports Network

From Larry Brown Sports: ESPNW Brand Coming with Mixed Reviews from Women

From the Atlantic: ESPN to Launch Women’s Brand: What’s Good, What’s Bad, What’s Puzzling

From Media Alley: ESPN to Launch Women’s Brand ‘ESPNW’ — And Some Women Are Not Pleased

From Hammervision: If You Build It, They Will Come – How To Make espnW a Success and Not a Joke

From Deniz does Sports: ESPNW–Pass or Fail?

From Sportsnewser: ESPN Targeting Female Demographic With espnW

Have you caught who’s missing?

ESPN.

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from HoopGurlz: Look back to look forward

Through the years, the recruiting landscape has shifted dramatically.

The evolution of recruiting legislation generally has been an effort to address the needs of the student athletes or a response to the growth and changes in the recruiting process itself. What has also happened is an often shortsighted and kneejerk reaction to issues without understanding the residual effects and long-term impact of that action.

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“We want to learn from the men’s side — what to do and not what to do.”

Oooops.

Eastern Michigan self-reports 4 major NCAA violations in women’s basketball program, suspends coach, punishes others

The report also indicates that evidence suggests that players were instructed to lie by Eastern Michigan assistant coach Darin Thrun once coaches learned compliance officials were examining team practices.

The report states that players were told Thrun would be fired if the truth came out as to how long they had practiced. Thrun reportedly told players to tell compliance officers they practiced two hours and to tell them, “this, this and this.” Players were also told to tell officials that they had not watched film or worked out.

Players said they felt like they had been “put in the middle.”

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and not the happy kind:

IUPUI fires women’s basketball coach Shann Hart

NCAA punishes Chattanooga

The NCAA cited Chattanooga with major violations Thursday in its athletics program for failing to monitor phone calls and text messages by coaches to recruits.

Assistant Johnetta Hayes disciplined

An assistant women’s basketball coach at North Carolina-Wilmington faces undisclosed disciplinary action after she punished a player by making her roll the length of the court for 30 minutes.

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